Multiple pen-names?

How common is this? Is it something you’ve considered?

Until now, it hadn’t really crossed my mind. I wasn’t concerned because pretty much everything I wrote was speculative in nature, until I decided to revise Mocha Nihilism and publish it…

I am still waiting on feedback from my critique buddies, but one of them said something about it being different to what he expected. He’s read a bunch of my short stories, so it would be fair for him to assume he’d have a rough idea of what he was getting. His comment made me think about how different from my other stuff it is.

I may be taking what he said completely the wrong way (and, I have no idea if it was a good thing or a bad thing – he’s being a hold out until he gets his comments together [I had to write that just in case you’re reading :-P]) but when I compare a story like Birth Rights to Mocha Nihilism – well, they have very little in common!

I do want to write more light stuff, more fun stuff, more stuff set in the real world with no speculative elements. Stories free of killers, and crazies, weird stuff, magic, science, wonder and fantasy (which I totally love, and will continue to write forever).

In your opinion, would it be a good idea to keep the two separate? I would hate to build an expectation with one name, only to frustrate and annoy (and no doubt confuse/lose) readers, because they have found stories that are of a completely different nature.

That said, would that mean I need to build two platforms? Or should I just stop being a genre slut and narrow down my field of focus?

Thoughts welcomed! What would you do?

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15 thoughts on “Multiple pen-names?

  1. Hey there!

    I think it’s okay to write in several genres. I enjoy writing in different genres occasionally, and it’s fun to experiment. So keep being a genre slut!

    You could make a pen-name for your lighter work. I don’t think you would need to build a whole new platform, just mention on your existing platform that you have a pen-name.

    Just my thoughts.

    1. that is an idea – two names, but both attached to the one blog etc. Like being completely transparent about the fact it’s all me, just different facets of my writing.
      Thank you πŸ™‚

  2. I’m speaking from NO experience here, so keep that in mind. I think it’s a good idea to use pen names when you write in very different genres. You want to build a readership, and it makes sense to “brand” yourself, so your readers know what to expect. Think of your favorite author. If you’re like me, you would buy that author’s latest without knowing anything about it. That’s because the author’s name is branded by genre. You know what to expect. That’s what you want to work toward, IMHO.

    1. Brand is one of those things everyone seems to have been talking about for awhile now, I should probably go and do some reading I guess….
      Thanks, Linda πŸ™‚

  3. I find that genre sluts, as you called it πŸ™‚ are more and more popular. Writers are expanding, readers are expanding. Justin Cronin is one name at the top of my head. At the same time, we made muffins tonight, and my daughter was so excited that they looked just like in the picture. Human nature, we want what we know. That said, I think a publisher would decide.

    1. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never get to that point so I might as well just obsess about these things here πŸ˜‰ lol
      I may self publish some things, but it’s nice to hear that genre sluts are getting more popular!

  4. I would so much rather see you as a genre slut than limit your gift. πŸ™‚ I think our world has become too dependent on the most basic element being the only element, as if squeezing ourselves to the bare minimum is all that can be accepted, understood. A poorer world shall we see if this continues; humans are multi-facted beings. How hard it is to take a few seconds, perhaps one entire minute to read a blurb, ascertaining if one novel or short story by an author is appealing? Perhaps I’m being extremely naive, but the notion of branding oneself seems to cheapen the art. Yes, we want exposure and work our tails off to attain notice. But you are Cassie, you write what you do. If someone has a problem with that, has difficulty accepting multiple ideas streaming from your brain…

    Or maybe I’m full of crap. It’s very possible, probable actually. πŸ™‚

  5. I basically agree with the other Anna πŸ™‚ I mean, if you’re writing kids books and erotica you probably should use a pen name. But between spec fic and general, there are plenty of other (far better, imo) ways of doing it (cover design etc).

    Of course there’s always the happy medium of doing what Iain Banks does, and use a middle initial for one genre (or something similar) – just enough to make a distinction, not enough to remove the connection.

  6. haha “genre slut”–I love it!
    I think until you become the next Stephen King or Dean Koontz or James Patterson, you should go with a pen name. Hard for me to admit, I do expect certain things from certain authors, and even though I’m all for a writer’s growth, etcetcetc, that expectation is always there.
    Besides, if Stephen King can be Richard Bachman for a while when he dabbled in scifi, I don’t see the big deal!
    In terms of platform? hm…I don’t think you’d need two different ones. I’ve seen author websites that have two site portals: depending on which novels you were interested in. I think you can get really creative about it. At the end of the day, the author herself was fun and engaging regardless of the pen names, and I think that’s what’s most important.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Some authors use a pen name for different genres that they write and just let everyone know about it. Others just label there books and hope their readers notice that the horror is different from the sci-fi. And yet others hide the fact that they have a pen name and promote them both.

    I’ve seen writers use one name for paranormal, romance, and YA. I write under three different genres and I just lump the fantasy and romance together under my Beman name because they were both fantasy. It doesn’t seem to make anyone mad so far, but then it might bite my in the tush later. πŸ™‚

    1. I intend to be very open about the fact that it’s all me, so I guess it’s not such a big deal – as long as it’s clearly stated which work is which genre, people can pick and choose. It’s been good hearing how other people do it πŸ™‚ Thank you.

      1. I think it’s the best way to go. The more open you are about it, the easier it is in the long run. Plus you can promote both names on the same blog and not have to worry about the extra work. Good luck. πŸ˜€

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